Continental AG has opened its new R&D (Research and Development) center at its Hefei tyre plant and has broken ground in Jiangsu Province. This will provide the company with access to test tracks on which the latest high-speed tyre and brake system technologies can be tested. Continental is building a 27,000 sq ft office/workshop complex at Jiangsu as well.
The company has invested around $4.8 million at the new R&D center at Hefei plant, which has a total area of approximately 64,500 sq ft. The facility has an annual capacity to test around 6,000 tyres and will focus on developing and testing summer and winter tyres for the Asia-Pacific region.
For the second phase, the company has already generated capacity for an additional 1,000 tyres that will be tested at the plant. The R&D facility has drum test bench, which has been custom-built for year-round testing of winter tyres for the Chinese market. Continental is also planning to invest around $215 million for three-year capacity expansion at Hefei for passenger car and light truck tyre plant.
According to Nikolai Setzer, head of the tyre division and member of the Continental AG executive board, the facility is a part of Continental’s Vision 2025 growth program for a better global balance of R&D, production and sales activities.
Setzer said, “The guiding principle behind our growth in the booming Chinese automotive market remains our motto, In the market, for the market. The tyre testing has been developed to reinforce the company’s market position in the region.”
Philipp von Hirschheydt, Executive Vice President, Passenger Car Replacement Tyres APAC, said, “Our R&D Center in Hefei will help us forge even closer links with our customers in both the replacement and original equipment sectors opening the door to long-term relationships with new customers in the region. We will also be working closely with other labs in the region and are aiming to further expand our facilities in the next few years.”